Background Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are increasingly advertised as replacements for regular cigarettes or cessation aids for smokers. Purpose To describe the prevalence and correlates of e-cigarette awareness and perceived harmfulness among U.S. adults and analyze whether these variables are associated with smokers' past-year quit attempts and intention to quit. Methods Data were obtained from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4 Cycle 2), conducted from October 2012 to January 2013. Data analyses were performed from June to August 2013. Results Overall, 77% of respondents were aware of e-cigarettes. Of these, 51% believed e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes. Younger, white (compared with Hispanic), more educated respondents and current or former smokers (compared with non-smokers) were more likely to be aware of e-cigarettes. Among those who were aware of e-cigarettes, younger, more educated respondents and current smokers (compared with former and non-smokers) were more likely to believe that e-cigarettes were less harmful. Awareness and perceived harm were not associated with smokers' past year quit attempts or intention to quit. Conclusions Overall e-cigarette awareness increased whereas the proportion of smokers who perceived less harm of e-cigarettes declined compared with earlier surveys. However, awareness and perceived harm of e-cigarettes did not show evidence of promoting smoking cessation at the population level.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health